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Marsh: Defense Base Act Workers' Compensation Claims Expected to Rise

Posted on 18 Sep 2012 by Neilson

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MarshWith the number of government contract workers laboring overseas expected to rise, Marsh today announced the launch of a new Defense Base Act (DBA) Center of Excellence (COE) offering clients access to comprehensive, customized DBA insurance solutions.

In collaboration with Rutherfoord International, a wholly owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC, the COE features a dedicated team of DBA experts with more than 50 years of combined experience in DBA workers’ compensation placement, claims adjudication, program management, and War Hazards Act reimbursement.

Clients accessing the COE will have access to creative program designs, benchmarking data, claims advocacy, and loss control solutions designed to mitigate their DBA costs and claims activity. The team also brings expertise in 17 different languages including Pashtu, Farsi, Urdu, Hindi, Arabic, Russian, and French.

Enacted in 1941, the DBA requires federal government contractors to provide medical and compensation benefits to workers injured or killed while on the job deployed outside of the United States. From September 2001 to September 2011, more than 75,500 DBA claims involving workers from nearly 1,900 companies have been filed—a vast majority occurring in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs. More than $200 million in DBA claim payments were made in 2008, the most recent year for which figures are available.

“As the U.S. and its allies pull troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan in particular, the number of public works contracts sponsored by the U.S. government for the building of dams, schools, harbors, roads, and more is expected to rise,” said Mike Dower, a senior vice president at Rutherfoord International. “For many companies, including construction and technology firms, this either expands or creates new DBA exposure. Failure to maintain DBA insurance where required can expose employers to serious consequences.”

“DBA workers’ compensation is an emerging risk that requires careful attention on the part of employers, some of which may not even be aware of their exposure,” added Joe McSweeny, president of Marsh’s U.S. and Canada division. “The new DBA COE uniquely positions Marsh to assist clients in identifying their DBA exposures and ensuring that they have appropriate coverage in place for their employees overseas.”